Wanderlust Chronicles in Dooars

20th May 2018
Photo of Wanderlust Chronicles in Dooars by Aritra Sardar

Had a 3 months planning for a short trip to Dooars in the northern parts of West Bengal. Surrounded by dense jungle, flocked by rhinos, elephants, deer, bison and washed by rivers like Jaldhaka, Torsha and Jayanti, we had anticipated that Dooars should be a treat to the eyes... and we were right. Being so close to nature was definitely an experience to share.

We planned for a week-long vacation, starting from 20th May. Our team included my wife Sudipta Sardar Dhar, cousins Shouvik Dey & Saheb and my 1 and half year old daughter Samriddhi.

Day 1

20th May'18 - We started from Kolkata at 5:15am (Though we planned to start at 4:00 am). Then I made the dreadful decision of my life by going through NH34. I still repent that I should have gone through Burdwan. The road till Baharampur was pathetic & I was cursing the road. It was definitely a national disgrace to call that patch of asphalt as National Highway. After crossing Bhagirathi (which continues to be the river Hooghly later) we finally got some good road. We had our brunch after some time and continued for Siliguri. We crossed Malda amd took a break for some snacks. Then we headed forward, crossing the busy and congested Raiganj, Kishanganj and reached Siliguri at 8:30pm where we halted for the night.

Day 2

21st May’18 – We had our breakfast at Siliguri and headed for Jaldapara at 8:30am. Leaving the chaotic city behind, the road started becoming beautifully scenic the moment we started climbing at higher altitudes through Sevoke Road, crossing the Coronation Bridge, climbing down again to the plains and driving past the tea gardens. We reached Jaldapara at afternoon and checked into our hotel. (The Rhino Lodge). We had our lunch at the hotel and headed towards the jungle from Malangi end, crossing the river Torsha. There, we booked our tickets for the elephant safari, for the next morning. Next we headed towards the Jaldapara Tourist Lodge to book the tickets for the Jeep Safari for the next day afternoon. This is because we wanted to see the jungle from both ends of the Torsha River. (All thanks to G-Map). Then we drove around meaninglessly to feel the nature. We returned to our hotel and spent the rest of the evening in the hotel.

Day 3

22nd May’18 – A great bane for late risers for me: Our elephant safari was at 6:00 in the morning! I woke up at 5:00 and at around 5:45 we headed for Malangi. Our mahout with his elephant was waiting. So was a beautiful jungle waiting for us. As the elephant penetrated into the deep core area of the forest, the mahout told us to be silent, because he could sense a rhino nearby. Leaving the rough patched path, he took us into the even denser forest, where he showed us a majestic rhino at just 12 feet away from us, in his own great mood drinking from a muddy swamp. Then we roamed around the forest for an hour returned back.

Day 4

Our jeep safari was later in the day at 3:30pm, so we thought of using this time to visit Phuentsholing (Bhutan) to have lunch at some nice Bhutanese restaurant and fill up my fuel tank (Price of petrol at Bhutan was only 59 INR!!). From Bhutan we returned back to Jaldapara Tourist Lodge for the Jeep Safari. We found rhinos, peacocks and elephants during the ride. The safari ended with a nice and rhythemic tribal dance.

Day 5

23rd May’18 – We headed for the Buxa jungle and the Jayanti River after having our breakfast. Personally, this was the best road and the best place I visited in this trip. Reaching Buxa, we heard that the earlier day’s storm and rain, forced a pack of wild elephants to segregate into two groups. Elephants never stay at one jungle constantly. They keep migrating in huge pack. Until this two groups meet up again, they are not going to leave Buxa jungle. We immediately took the hilly road to the 1st watch-tower with a hope to spot a wild elephant. But to vain, as we failed o find one. As we were returning back, we noticed huge Teak and Sal trees swinging. We understood that portrayal of this immense strength can only be caused by none other than the tuskers. But instead of finding them at the uphill, we spotted 2 elephants at the downhill of the jungle.

Then we went towards the Jayanti River where we spend some time. We returned back at evening to the hotel.

Day 6

24th May’18 – We started our journey for Lataguri to visit the Gorumara Forest Reserve. We reached our hotel Sonar Bangla at Lataguri at afternoon, had our lunch and headed to book our tickets for the Jeep Safari. As soon as our tickets were booked, we saw our jeep was ready for the safari. Except for some peacocks, we had no luck of seeing any animals in this safari.

Day 7

25th May’18 – We had our breakfast and left our hotel for local sight-seeing in and around Lataguri. We visited Jhalong, Bindu, Rocky Mountains, Samsing tea estate and had a great sumptuous lunch at Apple Stone Falls (the restaurant was small, the location was great and the chicken curry was awesome.)

Day 8

26th May’18 – We had our breakfast in the hotel, checked out and left Lataguri for our journey back to Kolkata. This time we planned to have a stop at Malda. All thanks to Sanjukta Das and Pinaki Sarkar, we found a good and decent hotel, Continental Lodge in Malda Town.

27th May’18 – After breakfast at the hotel in Malda, we headed towards Kolkata.

Total distance covered – 1812 kms.

Photo of Malda, West Bengal, India by Aritra Sardar
Photo of Malda, West Bengal, India by Aritra Sardar
Photo of Malda, West Bengal, India by Aritra Sardar
Photo of Malda, West Bengal, India by Aritra Sardar
Photo of Malda, West Bengal, India by Aritra Sardar
Photo of Malda, West Bengal, India by Aritra Sardar
Photo of Malda, West Bengal, India by Aritra Sardar